Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Full-Length Musical, Drama  /  5w, 6m

From the novel by Thomas Hardy
A musical by Alex Loveless
Additional musical arrangement and original orchestrations by Christopher Ash
Orchestrations adapted by Andy Smith

Set against the beautiful background of nineteenth century Wessex, Thomas Hardy’s masterpiece is brought thrillingly to the stage in a new full length musical adaptation, full of drama, colour and passion

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    5w, 6m
  • Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Senior, Children (Age 6 - 10), Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)



Tess of the D’Urbervilles is the story of a farm girl and what happens after she discovers the truth about her family’s illustrious heritage. Tess is seduced by the wealthy Alec D’Urberville and bears him a son who dies in infancy. She later marries Angel Clare, a gentleman farmer, but he learns of her past with Alec and abandons her. In order to support her family, Tess agrees to become Alec’s mistress. When Angel returns, Tess murders Alec in a fit of passion. The police track Tess and Angel to Stonehenge. As Tess is led to the gallows, she imagines what life could have been had she never had discovered her ancestry…

Tess of the D’Urbervilles is scored in a ‘through-composed’ style. The score incorporates a range of musical styles, from folk and church music to operetta. Containing timeless themes, including the sacrificial nature of true faith and virtue versus moral absolutism, religious dogma and fanaticism; the place of women in society; and an examination of the true nature of nobility; Tess has lost none of its power or relevance since its first publication.

First produced in 2014 at the New Wimbledon Studio Theatre by Stepping Out Theatre in Association with Partisan and Fallen Angel Theatre
Costume is mainly reflective of the rural working class. Parson Tringham, Parson Clare and Alec all require parson’s robes.

At least one period policeman’s uniform is required. The Clares are an austere middle-class family, excepting Angel who dresses as a gentleman farmer. Alec dresses as a fashionable country gentleman.

Mrs D’Urberville dresses as an upper class gentlewoman whereas Tess transitions into finery by the end of the piece. A wedding veil is also required.

The above casting represents the minimum number of players with which the piece can be performed. This relies on ensemble members playing multiple roles. There is much potential to expand this piece for larger cast sizes by allocating these roles separately, with many scenes and songs containing an ensemble element.

  • Time Period Victorian (British and American), 19th Century, 17th Century
  • Features Elaborate / High Volume Costumes, Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Stage Combat, Special Effects
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Mild Adult Themes


‘The Loveless brothers… have brought great sincerity to their storytelling… surging power ballads… very well delivered … a compelling centre to the show…’ Mark Shenton, The Stage

‘…superbly conceived and realised …there is so much to admire in this production… the fusion of the Victorian Novel and Musical Theatre is remarkable.‘ Broadway World

‘…musically stunning ….haunting songs …a beautiful musical.’ British Theatre Guide

‘Boasting a charming score… a welcome addition to the roster of new British book musicals.’ Musical Theatre Review

‘…astonishingly good. …stunning ….thoroughly enjoyable…’ Plays to See

‘…a dramatic triumph …an absolute joy to watch… If you are looking for depth, fantastic acting, great movement, sublime singing and music then this is the show for you.’ London Theatre 1

‘…a wonderful evening of storytelling. This beautiful new musical… has a perfect blend of a new score, great book, talented cast and winning direction.’ A Younger Theatre

‘…an exciting and accessible production… The musical score with its notable numbers will leave you humming …a glorious afternoon.’ UK Theatre Network

‘…wonderfully fresh and dynamic …a masterpiece, not only of musical intensity but also of outstanding stagecraft …a beautiful new musical… ‘ Jonathan Baz 

‘…sheer enchantment from start to finish… songs that could easily become standards…’ Remotegoat

‘…the best new musical to hit the Off-West End stage in years… Awarding ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ five stars seems stingy… I haven’t been this bewitched by any musical since I first watched Boublil and Schönberg’s ‘Les Misérables’. This is a musical that tugs the heartstrings and won’t let go. It’s divine work.’ Mellowday London

‘… a magnificent performance.’ The Upcoming

‘…this fine musical …this is a first rate affair worth seeking out without delay.’ Reviewsgate

‘… atmospheric and melodic …a bold and well told story.’ Stage Review 

‘…thoroughly engaging …this is something incredibly special.’ Ginger Hibiscus

‘… a wonderful musical evening.’ The Londonist – Tess of the D’Urbervilles ‘A rich, dramatic, and inventive score …really great new British musical writing.’ Grumpy Gay Critic


Song Samples

Tess Audio Reel
Children of the Earth
I Saw Your Face
I Hear Your Voice
I Could Never Love You
Dog Days
Until My Heart Is Free
Dairy Song
I Deal in Ideals
Will You Marry Me
Pretty Tipple
A True Christian Woman
The Belly of the Beast
The Folly of My Youth
Carry Me Home
Stony Ground
Scene - The D'Urberville vaults
Make Your Descision
Once, I Was Yours
You Lied To Me
Now Isn't Over
  • Musical Style Folk, Operetta
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Chorus Size Medium

Licensing & Materials

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
1 Full Score
13 Keyboard-MD-Vocal Scores
Flute 1
Flute 2

Please note the sample tracks below are unedited live audio files recorded during performance.

13 Keyboard-MD-Vocal Scores


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Alex Loveless

Alex trained in musical composition at the London College of Music and is the composer / lyricist / librettist of Tess of the D’Urbervilles (New Wimbledon Studio Theatre, 2014), Bel-Ami (Watermans Theatre / Charing Cross Theatre, 2014), The Remains Of The Day (Union Theatre, ...
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